Using FamilySearch Genealogies Section For Your Family History. Some MadAboutGenealogy readers will know that I’m not a big fan of community trees such as that hosted by FamilySearch, I simply can’t get my head around the fact that I can put up a good tree with sources documented and carefully checked and then someone who I don’t even know can come along and alter it. I could live with people contacting me and saying I think you have that wrong or I have this to add, but altering my research without even a conversation doesn’t sit right with me.
So you might be surprised that I am suggesting that you take a look at FamilySearch Genealogies and run your family names through the search engine. The FamilySearch genealogies are such a huge resource that it would be silly to ignore it, but as always with online trees treat the information with caution. You won’t know the level of experience that the tree creators have or how carefully they checked, but as running your family names through the system is very quick it is worthwhile as you never know what you might find.
I am a great supporter of FamilySearch and can’t speak highly enough of all the time, money and resources that they put into supplying the genealogy community with marvelous data, I just have concerns about their online community family tree and the ability of others to come and alter data. Perhaps I am being too precious – what do you think?
Using FamilySearch Genealogies – what do they contain?
The FamilySearch Genealogies section of the main FamilySearch website is located by clicking on the Research tab on the Home Page and choosing Genealogies from the drop down menu. Then enter your ancestors name in the search box and click Search. All very easy.
The FamilySearch Genealogies are made up of a number of databases.
Guild of One-Name Studies. A collection of lineage-linked sourced genealogies from the Guild of One-Name Studies.
Community Trees. A collection of lineage-linked, sourced genealogies for specific communities and time periods. These are merged from compiled and original source records to identify the community genealogy. Records include specific source data, and most are part of extended pedigrees and family groups.
Oral Genealogies. Oral Genealogies are spoken lineage-linked genealogies from localities throughout the world. Many of these genealogies are the only known source of that information.
Partner Trees. This growing collection of lineage-linked ancestor trees is submitted, curated and expanded by users of the various partner software applications and websites that integrate with FamilySearch.
Pedigree Resource File. A growing collection of genealogies submitted by users including hundreds of millions of ancestors. Entries include names, family relationships, and dates and places of events. No corrections or merges are made.
Ancestral File. A static collection of genealogies submitted by users, prior to 2003, including 40 million ancestors. Entries include names, family relationships, and dates and places of events. Submissions were merged to eliminate duplication.
International Genealogical Index (IGI). Information for over 430 million ancestors contributed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each record contains one event, including birth, baptism (christening), marriage, or death.
Some of these genealogies are going to be better researched than others and to get a good idea of the background of each database use the FamilySearch Wiki and do a search for that particular database. The FamilySearch Wiki is a great resource in it’s own right and you should take the time to get familiar with what it has to offer.
Using FamilySearch Genealogies – an example
Using FamilySearch genealogies I searched for more information about Hiram Mulcock, his wife Mary Pill and their children Sidney, Francis, Beatrice and Doris became members of the LDS Church and moved from rural Berkshire to Salt Lake City. Having researched Hiram’s life I wanted to know more of what became of them after their epic move. So I logged into FamilySearch Genealogies and put in Hiram’s name, just Hiram Mulcock no other details.
The search returned 32 results, from a variety of sources, but all were of my Hiram and family. You can see that this simple search resulted in quite a good amount of information for me to review and see if it added anything to my knowledge of Hiram and his family. The data was displayed with that which had the most information at the top and this had come from a Pedigree Resource File submitted in 2013 and is a family tree made up of 1,309 individuals from both the Mulcock and Pill families. The name of the submitter of this data is not available online, but there is a reference number made up of the submitter’s names followed by a 7 digit number. The number for this Mulcock file is MMWH-6LX.
The entry for Pedigree Resource Files in the FamilySearch Wiki tells me that the file has not been checked in any way, so I should proceed with caution and verify every details. The positives are that these submitted family trees can help by showing what research has already been done and guide you towards the records used. It also mentioned that the file had been added to the vast Family Search Family Tree which I talked about at the beginning of this article.
I therefore went over to the Family Search Family Tree and searched for the name Hiram Mulcock and found Hiram very easily. I opted to look at Hiram’s tree and that is when I struck gold! A researcher had placed a beautifully sourced tree with notes online and the big bonus was that there were photos attached to some files and for the first time I could actually see what Hiram looked like as well as some of his children.
There is a list of people who has added or altered items to the tree and some of these had an email address attached which allows me the opportunity to reach out to these genealogy cousins.
Using FamilySearch Genealogies – Summary
As you can see by the example above using FamilySearch Genealogies is a worthwhile resource to search. However because the majority of the material isn’t sourced I strongly suggest that you use it as an aid to guide you to other records and, as I found, a source of family material like the photos. Where there are contact details it is a good source of finding cousins who are also interested in the family history.
Use the FamilySearch Wiki so that you have a good idea of how the genealogies were gathered and the sources of the information and you will be well equipped to judge how trustworthy the material is. Bearing all these factors in mind go and have a look and see if any of your fellow researchers have left photographs, scanned documents and information for you to find. I hope you will be as lucky as I was in finding photographs and being able to add a face to a name sitting on a branch of your family tree.
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